Hello world and my wonderful readers! How is everybody? It's the first day of the Summer Solstice! I once again apologize for such a long delay, I have been busy with working on Forever Rising Phoenix, my Walking Dead story, as well as trying to perfect this chapter, which I wrote in two days but have been planning since the beginning of the story. I know it's unusual because I'm known for updating so quickly, but I really had a mad case of writer's block! I made it extra long for you guys, I hope you enjoy it, because this is a twist I don't think anybody saw coming! I've done A LOT of research and most of it is true! The whole time I was writing this, I kept hearing the theme played at the beginning credits of the movie Catch Me If You Can, it just seems so fitting for this chapter, let me know if you think the same! I can't believe this is the last chapter before the epilogue! This story is my baby and I feel like I'm sending it to college! Don't fret over the absence of an Author's Note at the end, because this story is not over yet! Today is a big day, as I'm posting HUGE chapters for my top two stories, so be sure to check out Forever Rising Phoenix!
Also, once Nights in White Satin is completed, I will be resuming work on Back to Life and Beyond The Stunning Facade. I'm also starting a children's story writing class in addition to working on the musical I've written and am trying to finish.
Also, I would love some more original Fanart, please contact me! Thank you SySaiyan for your three gorgeous pieces!
Your kind words and patience have been much appreciated, I LOVE YOU GUYS! I seriously could not have done it without you, my fans, you've given me inspiration, acknowledgment, and praise that writers aspire for everyday. Thanks for the reviews, follows, and favorites! :D I can not believe that this story now has 28,715 views, 341 reviews, 46 follows, and 49 favorites! HOLY COW! This is the first time I've had more favorites than followers! It gives me hope that the original version of the story will be well received also :). Thanks to SkorpionQueen012, Knute, PabloPenguin, THE PYROMANIAC FIRE QUEEN, GrapeSodaBanBabies, BlueBerryIceQueen, Duncanschick, Freckleshipping, SilverSun09, SySaiyan, TiggyStretch, inlouvre, Sazza11029, Scribbler xD, DIsruption, strawberriezmilkz, and the guest reviewers whose names I don't know, I know I can always count on your ideas and reviews!
I finally hit over 300 reviews! WOO-HOO! Now, I really want to hit 400 and more reviews! This story is now the second highest reviewed not only for Duncney, but for the whole Mature Romance genre of the Total Drama FanFiction! EEEE! I've been advertising the story on Instagram, I hope it works! I did not draw the cover image, I found that on Instagram also!
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NOR HAVE ANY AFFILIATIONS WITH THE TOTAL DRAMA FRANCHISE OR NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN. ALL PROPERTIES OWNED BY TELETOON ANDTHE MOODY BLUES, RESPECTIVELY.
I ONLY OWN THE TAINTED KITTY, THE STRIPPER NAMES, AND MY OWN ORIGINAL STORY IDEAS, WHICH CAME FROM THE SCREENPLAY I'VE BEEN WRITING AND HAS BEEN COPYRIGHTED
Chapter Thirty Three: The Sparkle Never Fades
ONE MONTH LATER
Mastro's Steakhouse, Beverly Hills, May 6th, 2:00 pm
Duncan sat at a table in the back of Mastro's Steakhouse, sharply dressed in a black Armani suit and royal blue tie with a matching blue shirt and black leather Prada loafers, checking his watch as he patiently waited for a meeting to start. Even for two in the afternoon, the place was dimly lit, it seemed to make the cerulean blue walls and white linen table cloths brighter. At least it wasn't too crowded, but he didn't really care. All Duncan cared about was this meeting going well, it was going to secure his and Courtney's future, as well as the future of their unborn child.
Most of Courtney's days were busy with supervising the remodeling processes of the dance studio and the house, with the former opening next month and the house set to be finished in time for the baby shower. Duncan's days, on the other hand, were filled with pre-production meetings at either the latest hot spot restaurant or in the Smokehouse Productions office on the Warner Brothers Studio lot with George Clooney, John Goodman, and the rest of the production staff, along with the writers.
When the newlyweds arrived in Athens, Greece, there was a huge pile of first draft scripts and gift baskets waiting for Duncan in the honeymoon suite. The drafts were penned by the elite of Hollywood, including Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Paul Haggis, David O. Russell, Spike Jonez, Christopher Nolan, Diabolo Cody, Joel and Ethan Coen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Joss Whedon, Spike Lee, even Sofia Coppola and Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan submitted one. After spending three days in their pool side cabana at the hotel reading the scripts and having an hour and a half Skype call with George and John, they came to the collective decision to combine the drafts written by Paul Haggis and David O. Russell, for their drafts were filled with raw emotion that would intensely captivate the audience and were incredibly detailed to as close as the actual events could get, along with a few light moments specifically provided for comedic relief. They both happily agreed to work together with Duncan ultimately serving as a consultant to help punch it up with some action, and the combined second draft is the one that became the official Nights in White Satin screenplay. With Martin Scorsese signed on as director and the casting process to start next week, everything was on schedule for the picture to go into filming production in June and be completed before Halloween.
Things for everybody else were going great, also. Duncan, Geoff, and Tyler were all excelling in their courses at CSUN. Luckily, they were all either online classes or hybrid classes, with the majority being online and the only time it was required to be in a class was when there was a test, which gave the guys plenty of time to venture out with their other endeavors.
Geoff and Tyler took Duncan up on his suggestions and secured locations for the nightclub and gym, respectively. Tyler found a recently closed Gold's Gym in Fairfax that was more than happy to sell it for a reasonable price, it was currently undergoing an expansion of a wider parking lot with more spaces and an add-on in the back for Lindsay's day spa, who was absolutely thrilled with the idea. Lindsay and Tyler found and moved into an excellent five bedroom, five bathroom house in Studio City with a swimming pool and tennis court, and they couldn't of been happier.
Since the original Tainted Kitty and Smoking Gun were both being used to film the movie, Geoff held onto them while looking for a spot for his club, and he stumbled upon one right off of Hollywood and Vine, and construction had already begun. The plan was to have the club open in October when the final cut of the film would most likely finished so Geoff and Duncan could throw the wrap party there along with a private screening. He and Bridgette moved into an awesome Malibu ranch house that was on the beach, which was absolutely perfect for PJ Barbie to catch some waves whenever her heart desired. The country party boy and the little surfer girl were madly in love and excited for what was to come in the future.
It was quite interesting how things had changed for the three of them in five years. Back in the day, they were too busy drinking their faces off and only cared about trying to land whatever little hottie walked by them, not having a care in the world for anything else. Today, they were all rich and in the process of establishing their careers, as well as being in monogamous relationships with women they loved. Sure, there have been some ups and downs, and the lines had definitely been tested, but in the end, everything worked out. What they had was the makings of true friendship.
I guess that's what growing up is all about.
"Duncan Harrister?" A voice with a hint of an accent called out, pulling Duncan out of his thoughts and making him look over. The voice belonged to a tall, nice looking man with short auburn hair, kind of a round face, and coke bottle glasses that was dressed in a tan suit, crisp white shirt, pink tie, and tan shoes. He kind of reminded Duncan of the actor who played Kirby on the HBO show Arliss.
"Yes, that's me. You must be the representative that I spoke to on the phone." Duncan stood up and shook his hand as the man nodded.
"Indeed, I am. Joseph Stillman, it's nice to meet you, Mr. Harrister." Duncan wasn't hearing things, Joseph had a full on British accent, it instantly brought him back to his Brady Benson days.
"Likewise, and Duncan, please. Have a seat." He motioned to the chair across from him and they both took their seats. "How was your flight in?"
"Ah, a little bogged down at first from Heathrow to JFK, but smooth sailings all the way to LAX. I'm not here for leisurely pleasures, I have to catch the red eye back to New York tonight and a connecting flight to London from there, but I will be making it a must to see what these California girls have to offer."
Duncan laughed. "Well, I can tell you first hand that they are more than what's expected. Thanks for meeting me today."
"I hope to find out on my next visit. I should be thanking you, this is quite the deal."
"Indeed it is."
Before the conversation could continue any further, the waitress appeared. "Welcome to Mastro's, can I start you both off with some drinks?" She was a stacked bubbly blonde that looked a bit like Shanna Moakler with her hair in a sleek ponytail and had a body that was filled out in all the right places. Had it been any other time, Duncan would not have hesitated in going after and tapping that fine ass, but things had changed since his tail chasing days. He was now a mature adult, a married man and a father-to-be, he couldn't go around acting like some smart ass punk.
"Negroni, please." Duncan turned to Joseph. "What about you, my new friend?"
He smiled politely at the waitress. "I'll have a Grey Goose martini, please. No olives."
"Excellent, I'll be back with your drinks shortly."
Once the waitress walked away, they resumed conversation.
"Now, I've spoken with my boss, who spoke to his boss, who spoke to the head of the corporation. We all sat down for a meeting and came to the conclusion to go forward with this exchange. I assume you've been informed that we had already been approached about this once before?"
Duncan nodded. "Yes, I have. I also know that the outcome was disappointing to both parties, I have a feeling that this time will be different."
"I certainly hope so. If you don't mind telling me again, how exactly did you acquire these? The papers and articles have been very limited on that information specifically."
"That was how we planned it. Even though we already had Alejandro's arrest secured thanks to his laundry list of committed felonies and illegal acts, Chris McLean was an added bonus, since he was the one behind the pigeon drop and under the radar in regards to this case. I concocted the idea to plant the bag of fake diamonds on him to prove what kind of a fraud he was. Having Alejandro unexpectedly hold the place up was two birds with one stone for us."
LOS ANGELES FASHION AND GARMENT DISTRICT, MONDAY, DECEMBER 15TH, 5:20 PM
Duncan pulled up to the loading and unloading structure in the back of a warehouse in the Fashion and Garment District. A thin Vietnamese woman trotted up to greet him as he got out of the car, with a smile on her face.
"Ahh, Mr. Benson! So good to see you! How you today?"
He returned the smile and put the British accent back on. "Hello, Kathy, I understand my order is ready for pickup?"
She nodded. "Yes, I'll bring them out right now."
Duncan had come up with the idea to plant fake gems on Chris to guarantee his arrest, even though he already had with the signature on the DIAD pad for the counterfeit bills, he figured he'd go the extra mile and land him for false advertising, since he promised the jewelers authentic black diamonds. Chris would have plenty of time to figure out how he acquired fake diamonds… in jail. Duncan grinned as Kathy brought out a huge box and set it down in front of him. Where else would he be able to get twenty pounds of uncut and cheaply made plastic stones if not in L.A.'s Fashion and Garment District?
"Cubic zirconium, all uncut. Make very pretty jewelry."
He nodded as he opened the box and saw all the gems sealed in plastic bags before closing it back up. "Oh, yes. Once the line is finished, I'll be sure to send you some pieces before they hit the stores."
Kathy giggled. "Thank you, Mr. Benson. You have good night now, bye bye. Come back again some time."
"Bye, Kathy, thanks again." Duncan hoisted the box into his car, grinning that Phase One was complete, and drove off to go back to The Tainted Kitty to catch Courtney's set.
DUNCAN'S APARTMENT, NORTHRIDGE, LATER THAT NIGHT, 8:30 PM
Duncan walked out onto his balcony, wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts, as he looked down at the display he had just finished setting up.
On top of a King sized white sheet that covered the balcony floor were two large plastic tubs spaced out from each other, one filled with black paint from four paint buckets while the other one was empty, a strainer, twenty cans of black spray paint, a blow dryer plugged into the outdoor electrical outlet, and the supply of uncut cubic zirconiums that had been picked up earlier in the day. This all necessary for the "beautifying" process. Duncan was going to put as many gems as the strainer could hold, dip them in the black paint, blow dry them, apply a second and final coat in black spray paint, blow dry again, and place them in the next tub.
If this plan was going to work, it had to be done right. There was no room for fuck ups of any sort. Duncan heavily sighed, knowing this was full proof but that it would be a pain in the ass to finish. He had to keep reminding himself that it would all be worth it at the end. "Let's do this bitch." Slipping on a pair of blue rubber elbow length gloves and a fumigation mask, he blasted "Berzerk" by Eminem and got to work, opening the bags of gems and putting them in the strainer.
Now I know what Walter White and Jesse Pinkman went through, more or less.
The waitress came back and set down their drinks, which the two men grabbed at the same time to quench their thirst.
"Wow, what a scheme. How did you come up with it?" Joseph asked as he gingerly sipped his martini.
"Chris was already such a crook, he would most likely try to pull this kind of stunt, so it wouldn't be too out of character for him."
He nodded. "Right, and what about the actual diamonds?"
Duncan sipped his sweet Vermouth and Campari before answering. "They were held in a top secret location until after the bust."
DUNCAN'S APARTMENT, NORTHRIDGE, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22nd, 11:00 PM
Duncan turned the air conditioning dial until the panic room ladder popped out. He slid the Louis Vuitton duffle bag full of Alejandro's diamonds up the ladder before grabbing another duffle bag and climbing into the room. The plastic tub of CZ's was in the middle of the room, surrounding all his guns and knives. He sat on the floor and opened Alejandro's duffle bag, briefly marveling at the rare gems before he opened the second duffle bag. Duncan had a hunch that twenty pounds of uncut diamonds would fit into a Louis Vuitton 55 duffle bag, so he ordered a black on grey Louis Vuitton 55 to put the actual diamonds in. The fact that Alejandro's was the traditional brown on tan proved that Duncan had lucked out and the bags wouldn't be confused. He grabbed the candy scooper and began the switch.
FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER
After Duncan had switched the diamonds, he left the black 55 in the panic room and carried the brown 55 down the ladder. He waited until the ladder reverted back into the ceiling, then made his way to the garage, locking the diamonds in the trunk of the Ferrari so it was ready to go for the trade off the next day.
A hard day's work is finally done. Not too shabby if I say so, I think I'll treat myself to a little Breaking Bad. Chris will never know what hit him.
Duncan chuckled to himself as he headed inside and locked the door.
JOAN AND STANLEY'S HOUSE, BEL AIR, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25TH, 4:00 AM
Courtney had fallen asleep in front of the fire place long after the fire had died down, only waking up long enough for Duncan to put her pajamas back on, and fell asleep instantly. After the night they had, they both were overdue for some sleep, but Duncan still had business to take care of. He walked back into the family room as he was throwing on his jacket, and watched his sleeping angel. He would have carried her upstairs to his bed, but she looked so relaxed on the bed of blankets that he didn't want to wake her again. Besides, Bowser and Oreo already claimed the bed as theirs earlier, so she was better off. Duncan kneeled down and smoothed a few loose strands of hair out of her face.
If she knew the truth, he would definitely lose her, and it's why it was going to stay that way. Nobody would ever know, but it was something he had to do. He kissed her forehead and walked out of the room, quietly slinked out the front door after temporarily disabling the motion detector, and hopped into his Ferrari. Duncan put the key in the ignition, resting his forehead on the steering wheel. There was no turning back now and it was too late to fix it, or he'd be a dead man. This was just how things were, and the sad part was, if he had the chance to do it again, he was sure he'd make the same decision every time. Duncan started his car and drove through the open gates, into the Christmas dawn.
DUNCAN'S APARTMENT, NORTHRIDGE, AN HOUR LATER
Duncan slinked through the yellow Caution tape that was criss-crossed around his front door, feeling like he was in The Matrix as he unlocked and stepped inside, tiptoeing as to not disturb anything of the crime scene. He walked into his room, turning the panic room dial until the ladder popped out. Duncan climbed inside and surveyed his collection. He was thankful that nobody had ever attempted to mess with the air conditioning dial, or even notice that there was one there, because if they had, Duncan would be fucked. Taking down numerous bags and holsters, he meticulously packed up every single weapon he owned and placed it inside a yellow moving trunk outside. Once he was finished, he solemnly watched the panic room ladder close up one final time.
Good bye, old friend. I'll miss you.
Duncan stood back and kicked the dial as hard as he could, causing it to slip off the wall and shatter into pieces. It was sad that it had come to this, but it was necessary in order to remain out of sight. He slung the black 55 duffle bag over his shoulder and walked out the door, placing it in the front seat of the moving truck before starting the truck and heading over to his storage unit at US Storage Centers to hide everything until it was safe to store it elsewhere once again.
"I had to put a couple real ones in there to throw them all off."
Joseph intriguingly nodded at Duncan's words. "Wow, that's absolutely brilliant. I heard that the FBI offered you a position but that you turned it down, may I ask why?"
"It was practically irresistible, but it wasn't the type of road I wanted to be traveling down, to continue being involved with a life of crime, even if it was for the good side. Plus, it wasn't something I wanted to drag my wife into with me, we were both presented with better things over the horizon and it's what we went with in the end, especially now that we have a baby boy on the way."
After coming back from an incredible honeymoon and before renovations on their dream mansion began, Courtney and Duncan found out they were having a boy, and they couldn't have been happier, and decided to name him River Phoenix, after the actor.
"Congratulations, that's wonderful. You seem very confident in your decision, that's something incredibly important to obtain, especially at your age. I'm curious, why get rid of the diamonds? Can't they just be stored somewhere?"
Duncan shook his head. "Thank you, and no worries. The original plan was to just store the diamonds in the evidence room back at the main FBI headquarters in Quantico, but we didn't know if Alejandro would tip somebody off to try and pull some kind of heist to get them back. The diamonds are too much of a gamble to hold on to, so we agreed the best thing to do would be to sell them off for a lump sum and invest the money towards new equipment, a donation from yours truly, since I'm the one here making the trade on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
"Mmhmm. That all sounds very noble. The DTC, more formally known as The Diamond Trading Company, and DeBeers have been trading and distributing for years. Ever since this story broke, the demand for black diamonds has been through the roof, and we don't have the supply. Carbonados are rare, and we want to bank on it, which is why we jumped at your call."
"I can't say I blame you, they're a hot ticket right now."
"Exactly. DeBeers normally get their diamonds from mines in Botswana, but in this case, an exception is being made. Once we get the diamonds, we will be sending them to go through the beneficiation process, dividing them into twelve thousand categories which include sorting, valuing, cutting, polishing, marketing and retailing, along with other tasks that are not specific to diamonds, such as IT, banking, security and transport. From there they go to the DeBeers Auction Sales, with buyers from over six hundred registered businesses seeking all kinds of diamonds, along with the Global Sightholder Sales, which is their primary diamond distributor and supplier of rough diamonds. When they're sold off, DeBeers splits the difference with the Diamond Trading Company. Do you have the diamonds with you now?"
Duncan nodded. "Yes, they're here now." He discreetly glanced to his left and right to make sure nobody was around before sliding the duffle bag under the table until it hit Joseph's feet. The man looked down and unzipped the bag. His mouth slightly went agape when his eyes focused on the quantity of black diamonds that were almost stuffed to the brim in the duffle bag, awed to be in the presence of and holding what was considered to be a myth, now proving to be a "dazzling" reality. He pulled a Loupe magnifying eye piece out of the pocket of his suit jacket and put it on as he pulled a chunk of uncut carbonados out of the bag to carefully examine it. Duncan watched him in aloof eagerness, not wanting to come off as too anxious, but he couldn't see a reason why this wouldn't go smoothly. It was a bit risky doing the exchange in a public place, but since it was post lunch and pre dinner, there were hardly any people around. Besides, he was and would always be somewhat of a risk taker. Where was the fun of playing safe if you can have even more fun living dangerously?
"Wow, I'm speechless. These really are rough uncut diamonds. Miraculous, actually." He took off The Loupe and put it back in his jacket before putting the diamond back in the bag and zipping it up. "The men upstairs will be more than happy with the quantity and quality, you've kept them in excellent care. Now, on to the subject of payment. We were all set to go through with this deal last time, but Mr. Barboza's greediness and temper got in the way."
"I understand, and I'm perfectly fine with the original figure that you had, fifty million."
Joseph chuckled, slightly bemused. "Mr. Harrister-"
He nodded, correcting himself. "Duncan, are you kidding me? These are Brazilian black diamonds, and even though Brazil is one of the only places you can find them, there's no guarantee that the miners won't smuggle them out and sell them for ninety eight percent less than what they're actually worth just to feed their families for a week. Alejandro's diamonds are more or less blood diamonds, and those are the ones that everybody wants to get their hands on, even if they say they don't. Enterprises are like scientific discoveries, nothing is ever one hundred percent true. Thanks to The Kimberly Process, it's become increasingly difficult to obtain these "conflict diamonds", but since this will be a private sale, they won't be deemed as "conflict diamonds" at all. We will go to Mr. Barboza's original asking price of sixty million." Joseph confirmed his statement with a sly twinkle in his eye and a bit of a wicked smirk tugging at his lips.
Now Duncan was the one bemused. What Joseph had just admitted was that even a high up corporation such as The DTC didn't play by the rules, that they were willing to go to great, almost illegal, lengths, simply to get the best and be the best. It was eye opening that something this scandalous was revealed, but for the price they were offering, he would willingly keep his mouth shut. Duncan was the last person to be pointing fingers and judging anybody's less than moral ways.
"Well, according to Gordon Gekko, "Greed is good", and sometimes you can't get ahead without being greedy. Blood diamonds or not, they're something that everybody wants and will never die. Nobody needs to know how you got them, just that you have them now to turn a profit."
They both shared a brief laugh. "Absolutely, and I love that movie. All I can say is that Botswana will be having a fun time sorting these into twelve thousand categories. Who shall I make the check out to?" Joseph whipped out his DTC check book, flipping it open and clicking his pen, which even surprised Duncan a little that he jumped to it so quickly.
"To me, Duncan Harrister. This is going to be a confidential donation that will be kept out of the papers. We want the country to think that the government is doing something right for once."
The two of them laughed again. "Yes, now if only they could solve the Health Care Crisis, you'd all be golden. That sort of thing hasn't been a problem in London."
"You're very lucky then."
Joseph nodded. "Yes, yes I am." He began to fill out the check, speaking as he wrote. "To Duncan Harrister, from The Diamond Trading Company, in the amount of sixty million American dollars." He ripped off the check and handed it to Duncan with a smile. "Feel free to take a little bit for yourself, buy something nice for your wife and baby, I'm sure the FBI won't mind if the donation is a little short."
Duncan raised his eyebrows as he took the check. "Oh, believe me, I will." He put the check in the inside pocket of his suit jacket and raised his glass. "A toast is in order. To great business deals."
Joseph smiled and raised his glass. "Exactly, and everybody wins. You get rid of the diamonds, I take them back to London where I'll surely be promoted, they'll be shipped to Botswana and sold off one by one, and the FBI gets new equipment. Cheers."
They clinked glasses and sipped their beveragws, Duncan finishing first and giving Joseph his famous smirk. "It was bound to go right, jewelry deals are hard to pass up, and diamonds are forever."
TWENTY MINUTES LATER
"Ok, after depositing the check, your account balance comes to a total of one hundred and one million dollars and forty two cents. Is there anything else I can do for you today, Mr. Harrister?" The bank clerk smiled at him, a pretty brunette named Brianna with big hazel eyes and a bright smile.
Duncan shook his head. "No, that'll do it."
She nodded. "Alright then, here's a print out of your receipt. Thank you for using Wells Fargo and have an excellent day!" She ripped off his receipt and handed it to him.
He smiled at Brianna before handing her something. "Thanks, you too. Don't go spending that all at once now." Duncan shot her a friendly wink and a smile before turning on the ball of his foot and walking off. She looked down to see that he had given her two hundred dollars. Brianna beamed at the gracious tip and slipped it into her pocket so nobody would notice.
Duncan strolled out of the bank, sliding on his Dior aviator sunglasses and heading back over to Mastro's, which was only a four minute walk to and from Wells Fargo. He was glad that he was able to not only get rid of the diamonds, but that he profited off of them as well.
There were no plans for a donation going towards new equipment, nor did the FBI decide to get rid of the diamonds. They were completely unaware about the switch and genuinely thought that Alejandro was trying to pass off the CZ's for the real thing, despite his many protests of the diamonds being real and that Duncan was lying. Duncan had planned this since the beginning, to sell off the diamonds and keep the money for himself. Apart from feeling guilty, the other reason why he paid Geoff and Tyler off was due to the fact that they wouldn't be getting any money, it was all for Duncan. He had done it to secure his future, knowing his inheritance wasn't enough to provide him with the life he wanted without having to grovel to Joan. The $80 million check from Stanley was not only a Godsend, but completely unexpected, and he couldn't keep the diamonds or he'd have a target on his back for the rest of his days. The only thing that could be done was to sell them, and The DTC jumped at the chance. Now, he had more money than he knew what to do with. Even though he had matured for the most part, he couldn't resist one last trick before retiring his bad boy ways and hanging up his hat for good.
Duncan got to have it all, to save the day and get a big pay off at the end. Alejandro and Chris were behind bars, Geoff and Tyler were now rich, everybody else was safe. Nobody would be none the wiser, not even Courtney. Again, if she ever found out, she would leave him, maybe even kill him, he'd never see his child, that would most definitely happen above everything else. Despite having good reasons in his own mind, Duncan never wanted her to know that he had lied and went behind her back, this was how it had to be.
When he signed on to produce the movie, Duncan took a lesser cut and instead opted for a percentage of the film's profits, which were expected to be record breaking, and that would explain for the extra money in the account. As far as his stash of weapons went, what Courtney didn't know was that there was a ceiling door to a hidden second attic in Duncan's closet. He was sending her and the girls on a weekend trip to a fancy spa in Ojai next week, which was when the construction of the panic room would begin and only take a day or two, the weapons would be stored away and locked up in there by the time Courtney returned home.
After using the bathroom, Duncan walked out of Mastro's and smiled at the sight in front of him. There, at the curbside entrance, was Courtney, leaned against the door of his blue Ferrari in a gorgeous white eyelit spaghetti strap sundress, her baby bump more noticeable than it had been at the wedding, a white ribbon headband in her flowing caramel colored hair, making her sable skin glow, silver sandals on her feet, and purple Gucci sunglasses on her face. "Hey, handsome." She smiled at him.
Duncan strolled over to her. "Hello there, gorgeous." He walked up and wrapped his arms around her waist, giving her a loving kiss as she reciprocated, putting her hands on his face to pull him in closer. They were still smiling as they parted. "You didn't rough up my baby too bad, did you?" He patted the hood of the car, which made Courtney laughingly scoff and playfully slap his arm.
"Not even, it's perfect."
He smiled at her. "Just like you are. Consider yourself lucky, I don't let girls drive my car, Princess."
"I believe I'm the exception, Dunky, and I'm still driving, so hop in. Everything is going great with the studio, I'm so stoked for the opening, but now I'm ready to just relax by the pool for the rest of the day."
"If you say so." They got in the car, strapping in before Courtney drove off from the restaurant to go to the freeway. "Nights in White Satin" by The Moody Blues was finishing up.
"Are you going to use this song in the movie?" She asked, to which he shrugged.
"Maybe, I think we should. George mentioned something about having an original song, it'll work better for marketing purposes. He was thinking maybe a collaboration with Adele or Bonnie McKee and Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty or Ryan Tedder from One Republic."
Courtney squealed. "Oh, my gosh! That would be so fabulous! Ryan Tedder is a genius and Bonnie McKee is disgustingly underrated. They collaborated on that song "Touch Me" for the show SMASH, it's unbelievable."
"So I've heard."
"How did the meeting go?" Courtney drove down Rodeo Drive, passing by all the luxurious shops.
"Really well. So far, Johnny Knoxville, Rodrigo Santoro, and Vin Diesel have all signed on to play Chris, Alejandro, and DJ, respectively. We're still stuck on who should play you and me, along with the others. That's when the casting call will hopefully come in handy." That part was actually true. While he was waiting for Joseph to arrive, he had received a call from John confirming it. It was a coup, since those three were the first ones they had in mind for the roles, and they gave the best overall readings.
"Hmmm, do you think maybe we should play ourselves?"
Duncan snickered. "Ha, not even! We're already in the lime light enough, babe, and things are only going to get bigger once the movie comes out. Are you ready for it?"
She looked at him and smiled. "Of course I am, are you?"
He grabbed her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "I've always been ready, baby." Duncan brought her hand to his lips and gave it a kiss, making Courtney's cheeks tint pink. He turned up the stereo as "I'm Winning" by Carlos Santana began to play whilst they drove home. There couldn't have been a more perfect song to play at that moment, because they were both winners after all. Even if all the good things hadn't have had the snowball effect that it did, they had found each other, and having true love makes anybody a real winner over riches and fame.
By making this trade off, Duncan could now provide for himself and Courtney for as long as they lived, not to mention their children, they both knew that River was not going to be their only child. His family would never have to ask for a single thing and he could afford to give them the best of the best. Did it bother him to have that on his conscious for the rest of his life? No. Why not? Duncan had gotten everything he ever wanted and more, and he owed it all to those nights in white satin.
THE END… OR IS IT?